SoCal shows no mercy
By John Murphy and Harvey Cohen, Staff Writers
SAN BERNARDINO - Both teams were wearing gray, but only one was feeling blue after Saturday night's prime-time showdown.
The team feeling down in the dumps after the West Region opener was Peccole Little League of Las Vegas, which lost 12-2 to Rancho Buena Vista Little League of Vista before 4,000 at Al Houghton Stadium.
The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The game was the pool-play opener for both teams. All teams play four pool games, then the top four teams in each pool meet Friday in the West Region semifinals. The West finals are at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 in San Bernardino and will be televised live on ESPN2.
Nevada gets precious little time to rest as it meets Tracy National Little League of Northern California (1-0) at 12:15 p.m. today.
Southern California gets today off, then meets Snow Canyon Little League of Santa Clara, Utah, at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Leading 2-1 entering the fourth inning, Southern California broke the game open against Nevada pitcher Austin Pomerantz.
After scratching for one run in the fourth, SoCal got mammoth back-to-back home runs from catcher Nathan Lewis and pitcher Kalen Pimentel. Lewis' shot brought home two runs. Pimentel's drew a collective "Woo' from the crowd and landed in front of an ambulance parked 60 feet behind the right-field fence, 200 feet from home plate.
In all, SoCal scored seven runs in the fourth off three pitchers pitchers. The only suspense left was who would win the 50-50 rally, worth more than $500.
SoCal got off to a good start in the first inning when catcher Nathan Lewis legged out a bunt single, then second baseman Royce Copeland hit a two-out, run-scoring triple to right field.
Nevada tied the score in the third on third baseman Dillon Casey's line-drive home run over the left field fence.
In the second, Nevada squandered a two-on, no-out situation when Pimentel retired the next three batters on a pop-up and two strikeouts.
SoCal reclaimed the lead in the third inning when center fielder Reed Reznicek drove home third baseman Danny Vivier with a fielder's choice.
NORCAL 13, WYOMING 1: Tracy Little League of Northern California came away with a five-inning, mercy-rule victory against Gillette of Wyoming.
A big blow was first baseman Casey Wichman's grand slam in the fifth inning. Wichman had two hits.
Also managing two hits to lead NorCal's 11-hit attack were pitcher/shortstop Kyle Moses and shortstop/left fielder Jacob Lopez. Right fielder Alex Flores had a two-run homer for NorCal.
Moses and relief pitcher Joshua Wesley limited Wyoming to one hit. Moses struck out seven and walked four. Wesley struck out four.
Kadison Wass had Wyoming's only hit.
ARIZONA 4, UTAH 3: ARIZONA 4, UTAH 3: Chandler (Ariz.) National Little League turned three second-inning errors into three runs and then held off a Snow Canyon (Utah) rally in the sixth to win the opening game of the tournament.
Arizona sent eight batters to the plate in the decisive second inning with Jordan Fabasilio, Parker Osborne and Will Schommer scoring on wild throws. In each instance, the errant throws were to the wrong base.
Arizona starter Andrew Nelson was sailing along with a three-hit shutout entering the sixth inning when Utah loaded the bases with one out. Utah made it 4-2 on a two-run double from Taylor Cox, and then 4-3 when Devin Gubler scored on a wild pitch. Nelson stranded Cox at third to end the game by getting a strikeout and groundout.
Hard-luck Utah starter Austin Larsen limited Arizona to four hits, struck out six, walked four and hit a batter. Larsen allowed one earned run after back-to-back doubles in the fifth from Colton Frabasilio and Jordan Frabasilio, to make it 4-3.
Utah finished with five hits and Arizona had four, but Arizona's flawless defense proved the difference. NORTHWEST REGION
WASHINGTON 13, MONTANA 1: Chehalis (Wash.) Little League sent 14 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the second inning on its way to a 13-1 mercy-rule victory over Heights (Mont.) National in the Northwest Regional opener on Saturday at Al Houghton Stadium.
Starting pitcher Robert Pehl Jr. gave Washington an early lead with a two-run home run in the first. Washington banged out 10 hits, and 11 different players scored in the four-inning contest.
Montana scored its lone run in the second inning on a tape-measure homer to left field by Will Kent. Teammate Jacob Doty got Montana's only other hit with a single.
Washington's Kylon Bonagofsky went 3-for-4 and scored twice.
Washington pitchers Pehl, Justin Wilson and Brennan Casteel combined on the two-hitter, striking out eight and allowing five base runners.